In our previous post we looked forward to the ‘opener’ of the cycling season and a new WheelerWatch adventure. Fortunately, in this post we are actually able to give you our post race comments. Fortunately, because while the world of cycling was looking forward to the first round of races in Belgium, the UCI and the cycling teams started a new round in their heated discussion about their beloved topic radio communication. The UCI was willing to use some heavy artillery: if the riders would appear with earphones, there would be no race. After this serious warning, the Association International des Groupes Cyclistes Professionels (AIGCP, association that groups together many professional cycling teams) finally backed down, for that moment…..
So, before the break of dawn we hopped on the train. Destination: the 66th edition of Omloop het Nieuwsblad in Ghent.
Curious to find out what the day would bring us (apart from of course rain!), we arrived at Saint Pieters square (start and finish location) about an hour before the start. Most teams were already present and some of them were just coming in. The square already had the typical cycling vibe: riders and staff where preparing their gear for the day and fans were able to enjoy the charming open character of the cycling circus. Though the sky wasn’t very promising for the conditions for the rest of the day either, everybody was ready for some cycling action on the Belgian roads.
However, some riders soon were reminded of how gruelsome this race also can be, specially this time of year. LEOPARD TREK rider Joost Posthuma surely was looking focused before the start, but unfortunately had to acknowledge the superiority of the though race that day: ”The combination of rain and the cold, the conditions of the track, the cobble stones and the climbs and crashes turn this race into a very though one.” (Source: Dutch website Joost Posthuma)
While the riders were struggling, we took the opportunity to enjoy lovely Ghent (you’ve gotta love international cycling;)) and watch the race nice and dry in a Belgian beerhouse downtown. After some beers and laughter (no further comment…!) we headed back to the finish to see the close call on the finish line.
With already 11 victories in the pocket, Rabobank once again showcased their excellent form. This time it was Sebastian Langeveld who took care of conquering the number 1 spot on the podium. Even though he made it into a very near thing with fellow warrior Flecha (SKY), the ‘Orange Brigade’ did it again!
As for the ban on radio communication; after a meeting with the AIGCP today, the UCI announced it will continue to stand firm on its rule. Surely, we haven’t heard the last on this matter.